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Is This Behavior Just Instinctual?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hello all! I have searched within the Behavioral Forum and did not find the answer to my dilemma. Here is the deal with Petunia my 4 yr old Tortie. I have noticed lately that she will grip things in her mouth and drag them all over the floor, even sometimes going into other rooms with the objects, all the while making this weird almost crying noise. Im wondering if this behavior is instinctual being that she is female, although she is fixed and unable to have any babies. Ive seen mother cats hold their kittens in their mouths before and Im thinking Petunia is liking my shirts/pillows, etc to how she would act if she did have babies of her own. Can someone please shed some light on this behavior for me. Im curious because the sound she makes when she does this makes me wonder if she is in distress of some kind because that is what it sounds like. Is there any way for me to curb this behavior? She usually will wait until I am no longer in the room or have left the house before she does this, and the sound she makes is rather loud. Does anyone else experience this behavior in their female cats? Petunia is the first female cat I have ever owned so Im not used to this.
post #2 of 16
Most all cats (male and female) will do this.
It's not so much a maternal thing as it is predatory.
She's got her prey and she's telling everyone that it's hers.
She's proud of her 'kill'.

All of my cats do it.
It's instinctual, not much you can do about it.
When my 12 year old gets going, she gets a bit loud, I just call her name and she she'll stop her crooning.
post #3 of 16
She has probably learnt that this gets her attention too.
post #4 of 16
We have to be careful and put our clothes away because Much will drag them downstairs to the landing in front of the front door, howling the whole way. She had dragged stuff out of a laundry basket of clean clothes. It is really sad when we find something wrapped around the ballister, knowing that she tried really hard to drag it downstairs. And it is always stuff that is as large or larger than her. Poor thing has to do this straddle walk with the item between her legs.
post #5 of 16
This is her thinking she's made a kill, and being VERY proud of herself for it. The best thing you can do is encourage her, letting her know how wonderful she was in catching and killing her prey. It's not something you can prevent or stop, necessarily...it's really a good thing.

Our kitties love to do this with our daughter's stuffed animals. I come home to at least one in the livingroom everyday.
post #6 of 16
Pudge does that when she catches mice. She knows that I will come and exchange the little wiggly things for treats and petting.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
for replying to me about this issue. As for the comment "Most all cats (male and female) will do this", my male Barkley does not do this, only Petunia so that is the main reason I thought it might be instinctual to her being a female cat. She used to drag one of my favorite stuffed animals as well, it would always be laying in the middle of the room when I would arrive home from work in the evenings. My other question is this, I just recently started seeing her do this. Ive had her for almost 3 years now and didnt notice this behavior before. Any reason for that?
post #8 of 16
I don't think it is a particular trait for females. Of the four cats I have had (Petunia RIP, and the three now), only Much does it. It sounds like your girl may have done it before but not when you've been around. And Much goes through spurts of doing it. Sometimes we'll come home to a pile of stuff then she won't do it for awhile. With her, I think it is when she is feeling neglected.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Very interesting, I notice she likes to do it especially as soon as I leave her side and go into another room for something, maybe it's her way of protesting that I've left her? I agree that she has to have done this before but not when Ive been around.
post #10 of 16
I have 2 male cats that do this - they are littermates but unrelated to all the other cats in the house. I'm not sure whether their mom had a high hunting instinct and taught them this or by chance these 2 related cats do it.

It's not a male/female thing - it's a prey thing. Mine do it with their toys, or things they pull out of the laundry bin.
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have figured it out, she now mainly does this when I leave her for a moment to go to the bathroom or outside, she tends to cry when I leave her, so now Im almost certain it is an attention seeking thing. If Im in the room with her she is just fine.
post #12 of 16
Both my male cats used to do this. Especially when playing a chasing game - when they've caught their "prey" they run off with it making a growly noise. If my Jaffa wants to play he wanders around with a toy mouse in his mouth and makes a noise that's a sort of mixture of the growly noise and a "please play with me" miaow.
post #13 of 16
Whitey does this. He'll drag things around. It's really quite entertaining for us, as one of his toys is a little heavy and one day we found it on the bed. LOL
post #14 of 16
My cats, Frances and Bosewichte, TEAR IT UP while I'm at work. They get into my discarded clothes and especially my bathrobe in the bathroom and drag them all the way downstairs. I just roll my eyes. I figure that they're rolling out the red carpet for their mama!!
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarkleysJester
for replying to me about this issue. As for the comment "Most all cats (male and female) will do this", my male Barkley does not do this, only Petunia so that is the main reason I thought it might be instinctual to her being a female cat. She used to drag one of my favorite stuffed animals as well, it would always be laying in the middle of the room when I would arrive home from work in the evenings. My other question is this, I just recently started seeing her do this. Ive had her for almost 3 years now and didnt notice this behavior before. Any reason for that?
The only thing I can think of...has anything changed? Have you been home less often? Maybe she's had more time to herself and developed her cat-ness more.

As far as it being your female kitty, it might trace back to their cousin, the lion, where it is the females that do the hunting for the group.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by maherwoman
The only thing I can think of...has anything changed? Have you been home less often? Maybe she's had more time to herself and developed her cat-ness more.

As far as it being your female kitty, it might trace back to their cousin, the lion, where it is the females that do the hunting for the group.
I think you may have a point here with the fact that lately, well, atleast since Oct '05, Petunia and Barkley are home most of the day without me because I now work 12 hour shifts. At first I thought maybe this was her way of acting out because I was gone for so many hours each day but wasnt sure. She still does it but again I do not understand why she wont do it when Im in the immediate area.
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